We find that islands are now one of the most requested features in a kitchen. The functionality of the kitchen has changed. Modern kitchens are a gathering space for family and friends, as well as, a space to prepare and cook meals. Due to this change, the design of the kitchen had to be adjusted as well. There are so many options and possibilities when considering an island. What will its main function be? Will it have seating? Will it be a prep area? Will it house appliances? Those are important questions when designing for functionality.
However, kitchen islands are not only about usefulness, aesthetics are just as important. What style are you aiming for? Will it be a simple design or will it be more elaborate? There are endless design details that relate to this topic. Islands can have matching panels, detailed legs, intricate corbels, and many other options. The trick is to make sure that those details all match with the overall style of the space and how you plan on using it.
Those details are what make infinite possibilities for the design of any island. An island can be small, re-purposed, and easily moved, such as the island on the left, which was created using an antique dresser. It is smaller that the average cabinets and can be moved. With a slight design change, the top would be able to collapse so the seating could be moved. This would allow for more walking space around the island if needed. This island is perfect for the person who needs their space to transform on a day to day basis to best suit their needs at any given time. The photo in the middle is a larger and more permanent version of the first island. The seating is permanent, but because the space and the island itself is larger there is no need for it to transform. The photo to the right has another added component, which is a built-in appliance in the island. This is most often home to a microwave drawer, dishwasher, or under-counter oven. One thing all of these have in common is counter height seating.
In the photo above on the left there is also seating, but this is different than the previous ones. This island incorporates banquet seating, which allows normal table height and will often negate the need for a formal dining table. The island on the right has a unique feature; the counter tops cascade to the floor. This is referred to as a waterfall counter top. However, this one is unique in that the material changes from one end to the other, which is not common.
There are thousands of different combinations of design and functionality that will create the perfect island. It is only a matter of discovering what is most important to have. Function? Design? Most of the time it is a marriage of the two, which creates a happy balance.
As we all know, November is the month where everyone gathers to spend time together and be thankful. Due to the fact that this often occurs around a large table of some sort, it is only fitting that this month’s blog just so happens to revolve around the topic as well! Dining spaces have certainly come a long way.
The first thing I would like to point out would be that this is not titled dining rooms, but rather dining spaces. This is because the era of eating around a large formal dining room has come to an end. In today’s world, there are many ways and places to entertain guests.
Dining rooms have evolved from strict and rigid to free and open. Just as our way of life changes so do the spaces that we live and reside in.
With the open concept movement, many people are opting out of the separate formal dining room and going with something more inclusive. The photo to the right is the closest to the formal dining option in that it still uses a large dining table. However, it does differ in that it is a much more casual option. There are several reasons for this.
The first being that it is not an entirely separate space. It is in close relation to the kitchen and living space. They were still able to ground the space with the light fixture above, but because it is not surrounded by walls on all four sides it seems more casual.
The second reason this is a more casual option is due to the mixed seating that is present. In the photo above there are three different style seats present at the single table. This creates an eclectic, casual look that would not be found in the traditional formal dining rooms that were common in the past.
This is the perfect option for those homeowners who prefer to make the most out of what they are given. Banquette seating has been steadily gaining popularity for many reasons. The biggest reason most likely being that this option can maximize the space in the home more than a formal dining room can.
Banquette seating often takes up space along at least one wall this allows for better circulation throughout the room in question and can make the room feel much more open and spacious. It allows people to have a designated dining space without needed a large dining room that will most likely never get used.
This option also has a bonus storage compartment! Making use of the built-in bench seating as additional storage compartments helps to further maximize the usefulness of the configuration.
Some homeowners are opting out of having a dining table at all. These people instead choose to include some form of seating in the kitchen, whether it is at an island or a peninsula. This allows people to take space that would normally be allotted for a dining table and add it to the kitchen. This is especially beneficial to those whose kitchen is smaller than average.
This is by far the most casual option aside from not having any dining space. However, if you do plan on entertaining frequently or hosting large gatherings then this option may not suit you.
Most people will actually use a combination of the above options to add some variety to their home and allow for both casual and semi-formal dining. Everyone is different and the point of design is to create something that will work best for your way of lifestyle!